Bicep curls with arms lifted
“I’ve seen people bring their arms up so their elbows are in line with their eyes and curl super light weights. This seems ineffective because you’re not going to be able to properly squeeze your bicep at the top of the curl, which is the most important element of a curl. I suggest a standard bicep curl with medium or heavy weights as an alternative. Either standing or in a seated position, hold medium to heavy weights at the sides with your palms outward – towards the mirror in front of you. Curl the weights up and really squeeze your biceps at the top of the curl.” – Alycia Stevenin, instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp.
Seated thigh abduction and adduction
“The seated inner and outer thigh machines are the worst. People go to them thinking they will tone their thighs, but since the muscles you’re trying to target aren’t really used in a seated position, there’s no benefit to these exercises. Functionally the adductors (inner thigh muscles) and abductors (outer thigh muscles) work to keep the knees in alignment when you do things like walk, run, squat and climb up and down stairs – not while you’re sitting. Instead, do a lateral lunge. Standing upright with a suitable weight dumbbell in each hand, step forward to the right and sink into a lunge; hold, then push back up to a standing position. Repeat on the left side. This exercise works the abductors and adductors in an upright, weight-bearing position so they can be strengthened along with the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. It’s a better exercise because it saves time and burns more calories because you’re not in a seated position.” – Lacey Stone, master instructor at Flywheel Sports.
Back squat with bar
“The reason I don’t recommend this move is that I often see poor positioning of the bar – it’s often on the neck and not the shoulders. Many people also don’t move effectively from their ankles, knees and hip joints, which causes them to overuse their back. This exercise inherently places considerable compression on the spine.
“A better option is a goblet squat. With this squat remember to maintain structural integrity: The weight – kettlebell, dumbbell, medicine ball – must remain positioned at chest level. It is acceptable to let the load move slightly away from the chest during the descent and should move back towards the chest returning to the start position. It is also important to note that the spine is allowed to remain in a much more vertical (safer) position throughout the range of motion while allowing more motion (strengthening effect) to occur at the ankles, knees and hips.” – Keith Nelson, certified exercise physiologist and certified functional movement specialist.